Walking With Him Into The Silence
Friends– this Holy Week has been just that: Holy. I have been so blessed to worship under the wise and beautiful guidance of Carrie Smith Wright.
I have followed the Evangelist’s directions, who have moved so quickly through the early days of Jesus’ ministry but with Palm Sunday, slow us to a crawl so that we are compelled to pay close attention to every moment, every detail, every gathering shadow.
I have immersed myself again in the so-familiar and so-new stories of Jesus’ last steps toward the Cross. I have noticed the thinning of Palm Sunday’s crowds–fewer Monday, at the Temple; just family and friends on Tuesday at Bethany; just Jesus and his hand-picked today and tomorrow at the Last Supper…and soon he will be utterly alone…
In days to come, while he remains very much alone, I notice that the crowds around him again begin to grow: a platoon for his arrest, night-court gawkers at his trial, a raucous mob at the crucifixion.
On Sunday, he appears, Risen, only to one, or two, or a few of his friends. The mobs disappear but the Church takes root. And quietly. Discreetly. Such an ironic miracle.
But for now, I observe how the bright lights of the Parade give way to shadows and ever-deepening darkness… soon, as the Fourth Gospel says so poignantly, it will be “night.”
Why walk so slowly and deliberately with Him this week? When we already know how the Story ends? I mean, it’s not like we don’t know that Easter is coming. And Christ is Risen whether we journey to the Cross or not. Only, somehow, walking with him now, into the Silence, and hearing him again cry out in dereliction, makes our singing on Easter morning all the more resonant.
I say this not as a preacher, but as a follower. And so I am thankful for this week’s worship. For the stories. For the blessed privilege of taking precious time to walk with him who loved us and gave himself for us… and to catch, a bit more humbly and powerfully, a glimpse of the Life that calls me to love him and give myself for him.
– Rev Dr. Tom Steagald